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Land commission on spot as Sudhir grabs city school land

Uganda Land Commission (ULC) must explain why they gave away land belonging to Kololo Secondary School without consent from the school and the Ministry of Education, State minister for Sports Charles Bakabulindi says.

He wrote a letter of no objection on the basis of which ULC transferred the school land ownership to Kampala Parents School, a private entity, but he has told Daily Monitor that he did not authorise the transaction.

Sunday Monitor reported on March 2 that Plot 8-12 Saddler Way Naguru, which belongs to Kololo Secondary School, had changed ownership against the interests of the ministry and the school. The land is located opposite Kampala Parents School and was being used as a play field for Kololo SS and the neighbouring schools.

The transaction begun when Kampala Parents School owner Sudhir Ruparelia wrote to the Minister for Kampala, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, asking to be leased the land to develop it into a modern sports facility. Mr Tumwebaze said he did not object to the proposal but recommended that the developer consults the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders.

Mr Ruparelia told the Daily Monitor yesterday (Monday) that his intention is to develop the playground for all to use. “The project will benefit schools in the area,” he said, adding that: “There were too many applicants pretending to be investors. However, Kampala Parents will deliver as we have been using the same field for more than 10 years and maintaining it.”

The Ministry of Education had said they welcomed the idea on condition that the developer entered a public-private partnership with Kololo SS and that the land remained under the government.However, the ministry later learnt that the land had been given to Kampala Parents School without the consent of the Permanent Secretary, who is the chief technocrat. Apparently, Mr Bakabulindi’s letter to the Land Commission was used as the basis to authorise the giveaway of the land.

But Mr Bakabulindi now says Kampala Parents School wrote to him asking for support but he replied, saying the idea of building a modern sports facility was okay but that they should follow the guidance earlier given to them by Mr Tumwebaze – to consult the concerned technocrats at the ministry of Education.

“What followed next, I don’t know,” Mr Bakabulindi said. The minister adds he wrote to the investor not the Land Commission, therefore the Commission should tell the public which authority they used to transfer the land.

Asked why he wrote to the investor yet the bureaucrats had already communicated the ministry position to the same investor, Mr Bakabulindi said he did not know the investor had been in contact with the ministry officials.

Uganda Land Commission is a statutory agency which holds all public land as a public trust. Mr Bakabulindi said, as a minister, he had no powers to sell public land therefore, ULC erred to use his letter to transfer public land into private hands.

ULC chairman Baguma Isoke said he has to study the matter before making a statement. “I don’t have facts it’s a new case to me,” he said, adding that we give him up to Monday to find out the facts. But, on Monday, Mr Isoke said he had “not yet” established the facts. Asked whether he saw it right for the Commission to giveaway land without the express permission of the Ministry of Education, Mr Isoke said it was difficult for him to comment “at the moment.”

The permanent secretary in the Education ministry, Dr Rose Nassali Lukwago, said: “We are interested in the land.” She said the ministry has written to the Solicitor General asking him to cancel the land lease but have not got answers.

The director for Aisory Services at the office of the Solicitor General, Mr Christopher Gashabarike, who handled the matter, was unwilling to comment when the Daily Monitor reached out to him. He said the matter was between ULC and the Ministry of Education.

SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR

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